Red Sox's Dempster wins again in Canada

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Ryan Dempster is still undefeated pitching in Canada after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 Thursday.

The native of Sechelt, British Columbia, allowed four hits and one run, on a home run by Brett Lawrie of Langley, British Columbia, over six innings to earn the win before a crowd of 25,851 at Rogers Centre. He walked three while striking out four.

Dempster (2-2) is 6-0 pitching in Canada, with the other wins coming in Montreal against the Expos.

"I always enjoy pitching back here," Dempster said. "It was fun to get out there and pitch in the Rogers Centre. I grew up watching the Blue Jays in the SkyDome (the stadium's former name), so it was a lot of fun.

"I'm looking for more expansion teams in Canada. That's kind of the goal. Maybe Vancouver will get a team, or Winnipeg or something, so I can hopefully keep that going."

The Red Sox (20-8) won the final two games of the three-game series and have won four of six meetings this season with the Blue Jays (10-19).

"We just couldn't get that big hit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "There were not a whole lot of opportunities, but we when we did have them, we couldn't get anything across."

Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save despite giving up the third single of the game by Colby Rasmus.

Hanrahan who is just off the disabled list, where he had been with a hamstring injury, lost his closing job to Andrew Bailey during his absence. However, he came in because Bailey was unavailable.

"(Bailey) felt some discomfort in the biceps," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He got on the mound a little bit before the game (Wednesday) and felt the discomfort. It was still there (Thursday), so he was unavailable. We're not going to take any chances with that, particularly with Joel being back healthy."

Left-hander J.A. Happ (2-2) allowed two runs, three hits and seven walks in 3 2/3 innings before right-hander Brad Lincoln replaced him to get the final out of the fourth with the bases loaded.

"He just lost his release point," Gibbons said. "He pitches up in the zone, and sometimes he loses that."

Happ said, "I've looked at the mechanical thing and everything; I think it's just a mental thing. Make a quality pitch, but it's not a lineup that you want to give in to.

"It all starts with fastball command. Generally I have that. Tonight I didn't, so that sets the table for a tough night. I'm looking forward to the next one, and I anticipate that being better."

Left-hander Andrew Miller took over for Dempster to start the seventh and allowed a single by Rasmus and a walk to Munenori Kawasaki while recording two outs. Junichi Tazawa walked Lawrie to load the bases before striking out Adam Lind.

The Red Sox scored twice in the second to take a 2-1 lead.

In the sixth, Lincoln walked David Ross, who took second when Stephen Drew struck out on a wild pitch. Jacoby Ellsbury greeted Steve Delabar with a looping singled to left to score the Ross with the game's final run.

"Our bullpen came in and did an awesome job and kept us in the game," Happ said.

The Blue Jays took the lead when Lawrie led off the home first with his first home run of the season.

The Red Sox came back with two in the second, a rally that started with a double by Mike Napoli. After a walk to Will Middlebrooks, Mike Carp singled in a run. A walk to Ross loaded the bases, and Drew hit a sacrifice fly.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the third on three walks, but Edwin Encarnacion hit into a double play.

"I was struggling to find it early on in the first few innings," Dempster said. "I was able to start getting the ball down and make some pitches. I was able to make a couple of big pitches, especially with the bases loaded and get out of my own mess I made."

Farrell said, "He doesn't give in. He didn't have his best stuff overall tonight, but he uses the whole count when he needs to, and he's got the knack to not let the game speed up on him and try to reach back and just go with sheer velocity. He finds a way to navigate through those situations that can get ugly or put a crooked number on the board."

NOTES: The Blue Jays put RHP Josh Johnson (right triceps inflammation) on the disabled list retroactive to April 29, and Lincoln was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. ... LHP Ricky Romero will be recalled from Class A Dunedin to start Friday's game against the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez (3-2, 1.90 ERA) in Johnson's place. ...The Blue Jays announced after Thursday's game that RHP Justin Germano will be designated for assignment. Germano allowed two runs in two innings in his lone appearances for Toronto. ... Red Sox RF Shane Victorino (lower back tightness) missed his seventh game. He hopes to be able play Friday in the opener of a three-game series in Texas. ... LHP Felix Doubront (3-0, 4.24 ERA) will start Friday for Boston against Rangers LHP Derek Holland (1-2, 3.38 ERA).
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